A grateful father from Rotherham is set to take on Peru’s Inca Trail trek next September to thank Sheffield Children’s Hospital for his daughter’s life-saving care.
In September 2018, Rob Henderson’s twin daughters Sophie and Jessica were born in Bradford, at just 28 weeks old.
As a result, both suffered significant complications, and after just 15 days, Jessica sadly passed away.
Sophie survived but initially struggled to feed as she was suffering from an infection, known as Necrotizing Enterocoliticis, which attacks part of the bowel.
After a two-month stay at the hospital, the family were able to spend Christmas at home.
But in January, Sophie’s small intestine became twisted which meant she required further surgery and returned to the hospital for another six months.
However, she is now back at home with her parents and has gone from strength-to-strength, recently celebrating her first birthday.
But Rob, 33, wanted to do something to help the hospital and thank the staff for all they had done for the family.
It was then than the hospital launched its latest overseas challenge, a trek through the Inca Trail in Peru.
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is often said to be the most important archaeological find and encompasses three high mountain passes, with the highest peaking at 4,200m.
It leads through the famed Sun Gate and into the ruins of Machu Picchu, a 15th century citadel.
For geography teacher Rob, the challenge also represents an opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream.
He said: “When I started teaching, I remember putting up a display on the classroom wall of the wonders of the world and Machu Picchu was the one I’d never really thought about.
“I started researching it and the fascination began there.
“I’m really excited about the challenge, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it sounds strange but I’m really proud of myself for signing up.
“I’ve never done anything like this before.
“I once agreed to do a 10K run but injured myself and my mum had to do it for me.
“It’s possible I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I’ll do it because after what Sophie has been through, I can’t complain.”
Sophie’s mum Jennie, 30, added: “Sophie and I will really miss him whilst he’s away doing the trek, but it’s so nice that as a family we get to give something back.”